Greece removes Nigeria from vessel charter party
ABOUT 30 per cent of shipping companies in Greece have removed Nigeria from their charter party, following complaints over hostile environment and alleged harsh treatment meted on crew members of vessels caught up in maritime security issues.
Disclosing this during the Maritime and Offshore Awards (OMIS) at the weekend, the President of Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria (MASPAN), Emmanuel Maiguwa, said Greece, which holds about 70 per cent of global tonnage on vessel operations, has stopped its vessels from coming to Nigeria.
Consequently, Grecian vessels with Nigerian-bound cargoes will stop in Togo or any other ports.
Maiguwa said insecurity, hostile environment and other harsh policies have pushed the vessels away from Nigeria to Togo. This, he said, will negatively impact the marine and blue economy sector, especially as Nigeria does not have its own vessels.
He gave instances where drugs were found on a vessel in Nigeria and the crew members were whisked away by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to its detention centre, in violation of immigration regulation.
Maiguwa also gave instances where harbour masters harass crew members of a vessel, compelling them to tender original trading certificate as guarantee for anchorage.
He explained that removing the original trading document of a vessel is against maritime port state regulations, especially when the harbour master is not a port state inspection officer, except he has a court order or has gone through maritime administration.
“Currently about 30 per cent of Greece shipping members have removed Nigeria from their charter party. What that means is that their vessels will not come to Nigeria. If they have to carry Nigerian cargo, the clause and condition is they have to stop in Togo or somewhere else.
“They don’t want to come to Nigeria because we have become so hostile. Insecurity and other policies push the vessels to Togo. In some cases, the owners will begin to consider subrogation and that blows their P&I so high,” he said.
Maiguwa said foreign vessel owners would rather have piracy attacks than witness the hostility in Nigerian environment. He said Nigeria will lose largely. According to him, when foreign vessels refuse to come into the nation’s water, there will be nobody to do underwater cleaning, inspection survey, chandling services and others that attract shipping trade and job creation.
Maiguwa said with the situation, Nigeria will have to take its coastal and local vessels to Togo to procure services. This, he noted, will constantly put pressure on Nigeria’s foreign exchange. If the issue is not addressed, he said, Nigeria will end up as a country that only provides feeder shipping services to neighbouring countries.
Responding, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Wasiu Eshilokun Sanni, assured maritime stakeholders of lawmakers’ maximum corporation to ensure the marine and blue economy sector works.
Sanni also gave update on the status of maritime bills at the Senate, saying they are at various stages of reading. He said about two legislations have gone through third reading and have been sent to the President for assent.
“Probably, because of time, about two of them were sent in May 2023, one was sent in March, and the former President was unable to sign it. We will find a way of re-presenting and doing the needful; making sure that all these legislations becomes Acts,” he said.
The OMIS Award is a yearly event that recognises excellence in the maritime industry, in collaboration with Prime Atlantic Safety Services and Hybrid Group, has included a technical summit in this year’s edition.
The conference, which also commemorated the World Maritime Day (WMD) provided a veritable platform for experts, leaders, regulators and relevant stakeholders to brainstorm and proffer lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the nation’s maritime industry.
Chief Executive Officer of The OMIS, Femi Da-Silva, said: “While appreciating the laudable efforts of industry regulators, we believe that convening experts and stakeholders in the maritime industry will foster a collective approach towards tackling the challenges we face, and drive the industry forward.”
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